GDPR Strengthens Tech Giants

Weyman Holton
Jun 27, 2019 · 6 min read

EU Players Destroyed / DeepNude / Heart Fingerprint / VW EV WeShare / Persona Pollution / Tech News

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Mike Masnick: Another Report Shows The GDPR Benefited Google And Facebook, And Hurt Everyone Else

Is it the law of unintended consequences or is Silicon Valley promoting law that enables it to move even faster in jackboots?

We warned folks that these big attempts to “regulate” the internet as a way to “punish” Google and Facebook would only help those companies. Last fall, about six months into the GDPR, we noted that there appeared to be one big winner from the law: Google. And now, the Wall Street Journal notes that it’s increasingly looking like Facebook and Google have grown thanks to the GDPR, while the competition has been wiped out.

“GDPR has tended to hand power to the big platforms because they have the ability to collect and process the data,” says Mark Read, CEO of advertising giant WPP PLC. It has “entrenched the interests of the incumbent, and made it harder for smaller ad-tech companies, who ironically tend to be European.”

Read more about this over at TechDirt.

James Vincent: New AI deepfake app creates nude images of women in seconds

A new AI-powered software tool makes it easy for anyone to generate realistic nude images of women simply by feeding the program a picture of the intended target wearing clothes.

The app is called DeepNude and it’s the latest example of AI-generated deepfakes being used to create compromising images of unsuspecting women. The software was first spotted by Motherboard’s Samantha Cole, and is available to download free for Windows, with a premium version that offers better resolution output images available for $99.

The fake nudes aren’t perfect but could easily be mistaken for the real thing

Both the free and premium versions of the app add watermarks to the AI-generated nudes that clearly identify them as “fake.” But in the images created by Motherboard, this watermark is easy to remove. (We were unable to test the app ourselves as the servers have apparently been overloaded.)

You can read the rest of this popular article on “non consensual pornography” over at The Verge. These stories are making the rounds every week now. We get it already. People have been photoshopping heads on bodies for as long as there has been photoshop. I can’t help but wonder why these articles are promoted. Is it so we won’t believe our eyes when we’re provided with video evidence? Are these technologies used as a defense when someone says, “That’s not me; that’s someone’s idea of a joke.” Is it meant to excuse behavior that would shock a spouse, an employer? Constituents? Or is it an attempt to curb smut purveyors…an updated People vs. Larry Flynt? and if so, who is pushing it? politicians? morality police?

David Hambling: The Pentagon has a laser that can identify people from a distance — by their heartbeat

Everyone’s heart is different. Like the iris or fingerprint, our unique cardiac signature can be used as a way to tell us apart. Crucially, it can be done from a distance.

It’s that last point that has intrigued US Special Forces. Other long-range biometric techniques include gait analysis, which identifies someone by the way he or she walks. This method was supposedly used to identify an infamous ISIS terrorist before a drone strike. But gaits, like faces, are not necessarily distinctive. An individual’s cardiac signature is unique, though, and unlike faces or gait, it remains constant and cannot be altered or disguised.

A new device, developed for the Pentagon after US Special Forces requested it, can identify people without seeing their face: instead it detects their unique cardiac signature with an infrared laser. While it works at 200 meters (219 yards), longer distances could be possible with a better laser. “I don’t want to say you could do it from space,” says Steward Remaly, of the Pentagon’s Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office, “but longer ranges should be possible.”

You can read all about this new form of identification at MIT Technology Review.

Darrell Etherington: Volkswagen launches WeShare all-electric car sharing service

Making good on plans revealed last year to debut an EV-exclusive car sharing service, Volkswagen is actually launching its fleet for customers — debuting WeShare, a new shared service similar to Car2Go or GM’s Maven, but featuring only all-electric vehicles. Initially, WeShare will be available only in Berlin, where it’s launching today with 1,500 Volkswagen e-Golf cars making up the on-demand rental fleet.

The plan is to add 500 more cars to the available population by early next year, specifically the e-up! electric city company car, and then it’ll also play host to the brand new ID.3 fully electric car when that’s officially launched. VW is still targeting the middle of next year for a street date for that vehicle, which is part of its all-new ID line of vehicles designed from the ground-up based on its next-generation electric vehicle platform. In terms of new geographies, WeShare will look to launch In Prague (in partnership with VW Group sub-brand Skoda) and also in Hamburg, both some time in 2020.

There is more to this story today over at TechCrunch.

Greg Keizer: Mozilla takes swipe at Chrome with ‘Track THIS’ project

Mozilla this week touted Firefox’s anti-ad tracking talents by urging users of other browsers to load 100 tabs to trick those trackers into offering goods and services suitable for someone in the 1%, an end-times devotee and other archetypes.

Tagged as “Track THIS,” the only-semi-tongue-in-cheek project lets users select from four personas — including “hypebeast,” “filthy rich,” “doomsday prepper,” and “influencer” — for illustrative purposes. Track THIS then opens 100 tabs “to fool trackers into thinking you’re someone else.”

This article about polluting online personas for fun and privacy can be found at ComputerWorld.

DSLreports Links

Ajit Pai didn t kill the internet — he made it stronger
The Fastest U.S. ISPs of 2019
Huawei says it’s talking with Verizon and other US firms about royalties for using its patented tech
The deep-dive into how Verizon and a BGP Optimizer Knocked Large Parts of the Internet Offline Monday
Verizon vs. AT&T vs. Sprint: Guess who’s winning 5G so far
AT&T facing class action lawsuit over hidden fees
Roku Will Soon Have 70% More OTT Devices in Global Streaming Market Than Next Closest Competitor
Researchers demonstrate how the US Wireless Emergency Alert system, which uses LTE networks, can be easily spoofed with pirate cell towers to cause mass panic
FuboTV Launches Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Sports Network
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sues telco giant Optus for allegedly misleading customers about the need to move to the National Broadband Network


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Your Tech Moment™

Commentary on technology, telecom & security in our information age

Weyman Holton

Written by

author of “The Dirty Deeds Playbook” out now in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

Your Tech Moment™

Commentary on technology, telecom & security in our information age

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